Ivan Pavlov

Ivan Petrovich Pavlov was born in the city of Ryazan 1849 in the family of priest.
He was educated in the Ryazan theological school, then in a theological seminary.
I.P. Pavlov was studying in the final year of seminary, when he read a small book «Reflexes of the Brain» by Professor I.M. Sechenov. This book resolutely changed all his life. At the age of 20 Ivan Petrovich became a student of St.Petersburg University. In the second year he chose physiology as his specialty. 
Being a poor student, Pavlov was forced to rent a modest apartment. During studying at university, he changed his place of living many times. In 1875 Ivan Petrovich graduated from the University, received a gold medal for the success in his first work «On the nerves that control activity in the pancreas».
In 1875 I.P. Pavlov became a student of the Medical-Surgical Academy (since 1881 the Military-Medical Academy). However Ivan Petrovich hadn`t got an aim to become a doctor – he had need of medical education to obtain the Doctor of Medicine degree and to head a department of Physiology.
In 1879 Ivan Petrovich graduated the Medical-Surgical Academy, obtained diploma of a doctor. For 10 years he was the head of research at the experimental laboratory of  S.P.Botkin`s clinic. There were mainly the studies of the cardiovascular system.
In 1875 there was an important event in I.P.Pavlov`s life. He married Serafima Vasilievna Karchevskaya born in city of Kerch, at that time a ctusent os St.Petersburg Women`s Pedagogical Courses. They lived together for more than 50 years and raised three sons and a daughter.

In 1883 I.P. Pavlov defended the Doctorate Dissertation «Centrifugal nerves of the heart». In 1884 Ivan Petrovich was directed for advanced at the physiological laboratory of R. Heidenhain. From 1885 to 1886 he worked at the laboratory of K.Ludwig in Leipzig. In 1890 Ivan Petrovich became Professor of the Departament of Pharmacology and then of the Departament of Physiology of the Military-Medical Academy. Here, by I.P.Pavlov`s initiative, experimental researches were founded. During 5 years Ivan Petrovich organized more than 20 researches. 

In 1891, I.P.Pavlov became the head of the Physiological Departament at the Institute of Experimental Medicine in St.Petersburg. He headed this Departament until the end of his life. Here the researches were carried out on physiology of digestion. The results of this work were summarized and published in edition «Lectures on the work of the primary digestive glands». In 1904 Ivan Petrovich Pavlov became the first Russian scientist who was awarded the Nobel Prize.

In 1907 Ivan Pavlov was elected a Full Academician of the Russian Academy of Sciences and headed the Physiological Institute.
For a long time Pavlov`s family lived very modestly, they didn’t have their own apartment. The title of professor solved all financial problems. In 1918 the Academy of Sciences gave to Ivan Petrovich a large six-room apartment. There he lived for the last 18 years of his life.  At the present time this apartment is the Memorial Museum.
In 1924 Ivan Petrovich decided to leave the Military-Medical Academy. His decision was connected with the fact, that students-children of clergy were expelled. As I.P.Pavlov was the son of priest, this event could not leave him indifferent. At the present time there is the Pavlov`s Memorial Study room in MMA.
In 1926, by I. P. Pavlov's initiative, in Koltushi Biological Station was founded. It was used as a factory to obtain fodder and to breed experimental animals. Later the Biostation was expanded to a research campus, where investigations on the physiology of higher nervous activity were carried out. Research work there started in 1933 and at the same time Ivan Petrovich moved to Koltushi with his family.
Study of conditioned and unconditioned reflexes in dogs there was practiced in specialized soundproof chamber. In Koltushi I.P.Pavlov discovered and described the phenomenon of conditioned reflex. Nowadays there is the Memorial Museum in Koltushi. 
In 1931 nervous and psychiatric clinic at the Department of pathophysiology of higher nervous activity was founded by I.P. Pavlov`s initiative. In this clinic there were researches, dedicated to nervous system diseases. In 1935 a monument to the experimental dog was built. The idea to create the monument belonged to Ivan Petrovich. He took an active part in creation and construction of the memorial.
Ivan Petrovich died of pneumonia on February 27, 1936. He was buried at the Literatorskie Mostki of the Volkov cemetery in St.Petersburg.


Cecilia J. Msekela, MD, clinical research associate

Irina Suhotina, PhD, assistant lecture at the Pavlov First Saint Petersburg State Medical University 

Maria Shabaeva, student at the Pavlov First Saint Petersburg State Medical University 

Natalya Rybak, photographer



The website was created with the support of the FENS

© Unknown Ivan Pavlov, 2015

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